Deputy Editor Benedict Brogan writes that British Prime Minister David Cameron’s performance before Parliament today will be a litmus test for political matters more important and challenging than the phone hacking saga.
His credibility has taken an enormous hit, and he will need all the confidence he can get in order to navigate the eurozone crisis. Today is his opportunity to regain lost ground and show that he can withstand pressure.
While Westminster has been transfixed by the hacking saga and its increasingly bizarre twists and turns, the world economy has been edging closer to the precipice. The eurozone is flirting with disintegration, America is contemplating default on its debt, and the banking system is inching closer to another brush with systemic failure.
None of this is to trivialize the seriousness of either the crimes committed by some journalists, or the cover-up by those supposed to supervise them. Nor should we brush aside the unseemly way that Mr Cameron and those close to him allowed themselves to be captured by the incessant demands of News International. But the context in which the Prime Minister is having to account for the actions of those who were not accountable to him must be recognised. We can ill-afford to have the Government distracted any longer by what is ultimately a Westminster village drama.
Mr. Brogan also expresses concern that anger over News Corporation's actions will lead to over regulation of the British press.
There was always going to come a time when we would face life after Murdoch, but if he is brought down, and his newspapers sold, it will not only be a bad day for journalism, but for conservative politics. Many find a thriving free press “inconvenient”, Mr Murdoch said yesterday: “I hope our contribution to Britain will also be recognised.” In the current climate, I fear not.